We read Jessica Barnes entry ‘Gluten’ in the Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen, published by Cultural Anthropology. Barnes begins with a deceptively simple question: what does the Anthropocene taste like? This is an excellent starting point to imagine a series of material, semiotic, and sensory entanglements and assemblages generated in the Anthropocene (if we want to use this concept as a place-holder).
The specific entanglement Barnes examines is centered around gluten, which, as the author writes ‘is not just a chemical constituent of grain. It is also an object of socially shaped perceptions, commercially driven food processing, and culturally inflected dietary trends.’ Attending to gluten leads us to health-media-cultural-social-economic practices (such as gluten free diets) and scientific discourses (such as narratives of human agency changing, or not, the biology of wheat and the atmosphere). ‘The tastes of the Anthropocene’ Barnes concludes, ‘therefore, are at once material and imagined, sensorial and metaphorical.’ Lots of future directions and ideas here: for instance in relation to our current work, is home grown food one of the tastes of the Anthropocene? What kind of entanglements does it produce? How does it map to specific places?
Dr Jessica Barnes’ page: http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/geog/jessica-barnes